Your not gonna belive this!

I am sitting here with a Sheepie at my feet. Yep - a SHEEPIE!

"Gus" was found wandering the streets of Houston last month. Long story short - we were contacted about him a few days ago. He has been staying at a Groomers since they had no place to foster him (they= Houston OES rescue.) They think he is around 3 years old. Parasite free and no heartworms.

Cindy brought him down today so we could meet him. Due to what Grannie Annie told me - and wanting to be careful before we just decided "LETS ADOPT HIM!" - we have decided to "Foster" Gus for the next few weeks to see how he would do with our family.

Gus is very nervous. Lots of pacing. After Cindy left I was left alone with him for an hour while two of our children (8 & 10) were playing next door and Jeff took our youngest (14 months) to the store with him. During that time Gus was great. Following me - we went outside - then vegged on the couch for scratches while I had a cup of coffee. When everyone got home I was out back with him. My daughter (8) was running and Gus ran up to her and jumped towards her - snapping. He didn't bite her - but he was on high alert. A little while later he did the same to my son (10) I think he was warning them. I even started running and screaming and he ran to me in the same manner - but I stood still and said "DON'T!" As soon as I said "NO!" to him when he "snapped" (I really don't think it was a SNAP") - as soon as I said "NO" he put his head down and was very contrite.

He was an angel while we BBQ'd (and the kids continued to run - I was right with them and he KNEW he was not allowed to "snap") - and all through dinner he was great. After dinner it was our family "movie night" and we all gathered in our bed and watched a family movie. Gus was right in the middle of us and he was nudging the children's arms so that they would pet him.

When Jeff got home from the store earlier - we had a family meeting. I told the children what I saw (Paige said "YEA! I saw he wasn't happy and it scared me!") so I told them that at NO TIME were they to be alone with him. That they were NEVER to put their face near his (no bending down to pet him - or bending towards him to give him a treat.) No touching him if he has a treat - leave him when he is eating.) Etc. Etc. Now - I am hoping this will pass. That once he realizes that he is safe - he can relax. He isn't MEAN - just leery of fast moving people and loud noises (HA! wrong house !!)

SO - any suggestions on this?


This poor boy is just PINK AND ITCHY. They took him to the vet and did a skin test. No mange. I don't know if it is allergies or what. He is red on his nose, eyes - under his legs, belly - and he cant stop itching and scratching. I really want to help him with this because I KNOW that cannot be helping his disposition. Right now he is eating Innova (actually it was GIVEN to us for him but he hasn't eaten since he has gotten here.)

OH - I have been having the children give him the "Sit" command and them give him a special treat (forbidden bits of BBQ'd hot dog) and that has helped his view of the kids. He knows "sit" and he also knows "down."

So - any suggestions for all of this. I had written before that I don't want my children to be disposition testers - but I honestly think he has the ability to be a GOOD dog with some help and guidance. As I am typing he is sniffing at the baby (14 months) who is toddling around. I am giving him a "Good boy Gus!!" and lots of pats. He is catching on - he just licked her.

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Glad to hear you have a new member to the family. I would highly recommend you take your dog to an animal trainer. Even if you are just in the fostering status they can give you an idea of how the dog will interact with everyone in the family. A good trainer will allow the family to be part of the training process. The dog may not be eating because he doesn't like the food, too nervous or the itching could be an allergy to the food. I'm afraid my OES also is an itcher and scratcher but I haven't been able to figure out the problem. One of the things the vet had suggested was allergy to the food but I haven't found that to be the case. Instead of having the kids give hot dog treats how about trying dog food. Remember that the dog has been through alot and it will take some adjusting but training is soooooo important.

Best of luck. Keep us posted.
He may have snapped originally because he saw you as a new member of his pack and then here come loud, running things and they were headed right for you, his new buddy.
What you have told your children so far is a wonderful start. Please make sure to monitor his activity carefully as everything at this point is new. No one knows what might have happened in the past that could inadvertently be triggered by something that seems innocent to you.

Best of Luck and Congratulations!

Please keep us posted!
I usually do not do this since people have so different views on life and I do not want to impose or intrude in any way. I have the gift of communicating with dogs/animals and I fully respect if you think it's not what you looking for in terms of advice and if so just forget about my post.

I went into the imagesection and saw your Gus and Jesus he hit me right in my heart and I cry as I am writing this because he is in such need of you and has suffered enough. He is such a wonderful dog!!! ( I cry so much I can hardly write) He has suffered severe trauma and is very very VERY tired and needs a lot of rest but are a bit scared to relax- he doesn't believe yet that this may be a furever home . If he snaps or growls it's because he is scared but if you tell him that he has nothing to be scared off etc. he will understand and you do not have to be worried. He is a bit scared though that you will abandon him as well. He shows me something very traumatic and it's with a car and it seems he almost got hit by it and then he doesn't understand why he was abandonend in the first place and I think that the itchy and red is from that very trauma. He is angry (and confused) at those people (the anger is sort of a cover for deep pain of loss) and the red itchy stuff may steem fram that. He doesn't think it's OK for him to be angry and have his boundaries (which doesn't mean at all that it is ok to snap after children) so if you just back off if he shows that you he is scared, he will melt and feel secure and safe and protected and feel respected in his boundaries. The previous owner may have had a hard time understanding doglanguage and he might be a bit traumatized from that as well. (You know like when dogs shows submission one backs off because it means they got it. But if one hits or scream etc. the dog gets messed up. I am not a person who uses submissionlike things to foster a dog but lots of people do it and overuse it and mess up the dog. I would of course never EVER hit a dog since it hurts them so)
I would suggest that you talk to him about this, sit down with him, only you and him, and tell him the truth: I understand that you must have had the toughest of times and we will try to understand you and your special needs if you trust us. (You have to mean every word you say so weigh your words) Do NOT say that he has to behave in a certain way or otherwise he has to go because he thinks that he did somehting wrong in the first place since he got abandoned (he is very sad and confused about this loss; huge trauma- doesn't understand what he did "wrong"). But you can say that it is absolutely forbidden to snap after the children so he understands the rules. Talk out loud to him and he understands. Make sure you give him touch with your hands at the same time (do not know the english word) so he _feels_your love trough them hands as well. :D

I think that if you walk antsteps with this guy and vibe him in extra much you will have the m-o-s-t rewarding and unique relationship one can ever have with a dog. If you want to talk more about this or more info feel free to mail me on

I could go on and on about this wonderful fella and I have talked to him now trough my third eye and it wouldn't surprise me if he gets' even more relaxed at your place now. And remember - he needs A LOT of sleep and rest to recover from very very tough trauma. His system is exhausted and if you make sure he rests he will then blossom even more after that and then the itch may go away without using drugs.

LOVE from me and God bless you for hugging him in your heart by offering him a home filled with Love.
One more thing.

He may be very helped by having like a room (not a crate), for a while, that is only his and with a door that you close and while there he can rest and sleep knowing noone except you will open the door. He shows me a red "sofa" in some kind of plastic fabric and maybe it's from the previous owners or it may be you who have this particular place that he suggest. It seems to be in the cellar ( I am not sure of the word) of some sorts. Cellar seems like the worng word but the floor that could be the same as the garage if the garage is sort of under the main floor. Anyway- he needs a place to sleep. :D

And then when you will open the door you sort of knock on the door with your voice (do not know how to put this in english)- talk out loud that you are coming and waking him up. He needs a place of his own where he can recuparate (sp?) and knowing _noone_ will disturb (except you). Especially important with them kids even if this is a guy that will love and protect your children to death. He just needs to sleep away lots of the trauma and relax and let the itch go away. I would love to send him healingenergies if you want me to. But only if you want me to.

What a gift you have gotten in him. He is such a gem. :D
Oh, and one more thing:

If you decide to talk to him I would bring this up:
"He isn't MEAN - just leery of fast moving people and loud noises (HA! wrong house !!) " Tell him that this is a house where people is moving fast and loud noises and that you know he has been in an almost fatal carcrash and that he may react from that but that he will be able to cope with that better and better for every day that passes and that ypou will help him. He would benefit so from knowing that you know about his previous loss of owner and the caraccident.

And if you decide to talk to him, as I said before make sure it's only the two of you and that NOONE will interrupt. Make some time and then just sit with him and talk (and listen!)- I am sure you will be amazed about it all.

Love again from me
One more thing again..

I wrote: "Make sure you give him touch with your hands at the same time (do not know the english word) so he _feels_your love trough them hands as well. " I realize that may be a bit too much for him if having an one-on-one. I would suggest it's enough with the talk while taking the first steps of establishing an even deeper relationship between you guys. I am NOT saying that you shouldn't pet him (Is that the words?) - off course he needs a lot of touch with hands!! But not if, while, having this talk.
I would insist the vet give him something for the skin condition. Cortisone, prednisone, something to ease the discomfort and clear the condition as it may take quite some time to heal if all that has been done is a food change with no indication as to what he is allergic to if that is what it is.
Just to make sure. I am _not_ saying that you shouldn't go for medicine as well.
It wouldn't surprise me though if your heart does the best healing. That's my personal point of feeling. :D
But the one doesn´t exclude the other.
Fnissa, you are speaking of a very deep love and of giving a very deep level of comfort. You are insightful in giving this advise and it is correct in my opinion. I have always been skeptical of the specifics but have always paid attention when someone says they have the power. The advise is good and it will be cool if the red sofa and car crash thing turns out to be true.
Rogers dad. :)

Your post made my heart smile!

I want to say though that the "sofa" is like a bench of some kind. That's why I put the " " around sofa. And I agree with you; the specifics aren't that important in the whole message of healing and Love! :D )
Hi Dawn,

Welcome to the forum! I'm Marianne, mom to 2 boys, and 7 furballs. Three of them are canines and four felines.

My story was similar to yours when Panda came into my home. The first I heard of him was on March 26/27th of 2004. In fact I will bring up the old post in a few days to remember how much we've accomplished in a year.

Gus, like Panda needs to learn how to trust humans again, and Fnissa has many words of wisdom. A lot of people claim you need to let the dog know you're boss and I agree with that to some extent, but with these guys not necessarily at first. With rescues that have had abuse in their need a very gentle approach first. I also work with abused children and those with disabilities and my initial response to those children is different than what I would use stepping into a regular classroom. It's the same with dogs that have come from a happy home to those that have experienced hardships.

I'm always soft spoken and gentle with the children that have had trauma in their lives...same as rescues. Fnissa makes a good point regarding the hands become used for love and not seen as one that hits. They need to see you as a loving gentle figure in their lives. Once trust is established you have the most incredible loyal dog anyone can ask for.

With Panda I would take him out seperately, spend time just the two of us and sit quietly beside him in a park. Tell him what a wonderful dog he was and how special he was. Panda in turn sat quietly , picking up the vibes that I meant him no harm. It took me six weeks to be able to touch the top of his head, months to be able to groom him, sometimes for each step forward was another two back.

He has paid me back with utter devotion and love. People at the dog park whom meet us for the first time have always commented "Does your dog look at you like that all the time"? He just gazes up at me full of adoration and even in a park full of dogs offleash I call him once and he comes bounding over to me.

Panda is the sixth rescue dog I've had and each have their own quirks and personality that makes them unique. Each has to have time to learn to trust. Sometimes they are very docile , afraid of doing something wrong and then what's considered "bad behaviors" emerge when they start feeling comfortable with you. Ironically foster children do the same thing..just when they get comfortable is when people throw up their hands and say it's too much. No doubt it's a lot of work but the rewards in the long run are amazing.

Each of my three dogs responds differently to corrections..Panda and Blue whom both have abuse in their background have always done better with a firm but gentle correction. Merlin whom I've had since a pup and is from a reputable breeder is the one that is the bossiest and is experiencing that horrible teenage year. Egads!!! He's the most challenging for me this time around.

Still, I know that this is brief in terms of their lifespan and eventually peace will return once more to my household. :D
Hang in there Dawn, you may have tough days ahead of you but in return will have the most loving and loyal dog. Don't be afraid to ask for help in here as there's hundreds to offer advice and support. Even if you just need to vent sometimes...get on this board and write! We'll be there for you!

Much luck!

Marianne and the boys
Dawn - I was just re-reading these posts and wondering if you decided to keep Gus??? Will you give us an update on him? I always like hearing how they're doing in their new homes. :)
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